Handheld Infrared Thermometers

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Handheld infrared thermometers may be the ideal solution for people who need to remotely measure the temperature of a certain object or surface. This makes them perfect for a variety of uses, in applications that range from heavy industry to food service.

Infrared thermometers do not actually measure the temperature of an object directly, as traditional thermometers do. Instead, they measure the amount of infrared light that is emitted by the object. Infrared light is a type of radiation that is emitted by all types of matter, as long as that matter is warmer than absolute zero. Because infrared radiation has a slightly longer wavelength than visible light, human eyes cannot detect it.

How Handheld Infrared Thermometers Work

By measuring the amount of infrared radiation that a subject emits, handheld infrared thermometers can compute the surface temperature of the object. This makes them ideal for quickly scanning large machinery for potentially dangerous hotspots (spots that may warn of a potential mechanical failure, such as a bearing or valve, for instance). Firefighters may also use IR thermometers to scan thin walls for areas of high heat.

Most IR thermometers have the capability to read a large range of temperatures, often from below freezing to in excess of 1,000° Fahrenheit. Many thermometers, especially those for industrial use, also feature programmable alarms that will indicate detection of extreme temperatures. Many handheld infrared weigh much less than a pound, and operate on rechargeable or alkaline batteries.

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